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L.S. Morungu


The feeding of dairy cows for milk production is a major problem in many tropical countries. The problem is even greater where limited areas of land are available for intensive pasture or fodder production, as is the case in the Arushu/Kilimanjaro coffee/banana belt of Tanzania. This paper seeks to describe the farming systems of the area in question and the initiation and implementation of a project to try to help dairy farmers in that area.



Arusha and Kilimanjaro regions, with a total area of 96,000 km2, are located in the north-eastern part of Tanzania and are bordered by Kenya on the northern and north-eastern sides. The population of these two regions is estimated to be 2.6 million people, 80% of which live in the rural areas while 20% are found in the urban centres of Arusha and Moshi. There are three main agro-ecological zones:

  1. The lowlands zone is characterised by unreliable rainfall and low population density. Drought is not uncommon and average annual temperatures are more than 30°C. The annual crops include maize, sorghum, cassava and, in the irrigated areas, one finds paddy and sugarcane. Extensive livestock keeping is practised in this zone the cattle grazed are predominantly, the Tanzania Shorthorn Zebu (TSZ).

  2. The middle belt zone is characterised by a high populationdensity and a high rainfall, with temperatures ranging between 25 and 30°C. In this zone, one finds intensive farming of coffee, grown under bananas. While coffee is the main cash crop, bananas form the staple food. The lowest extreme of this zone is climatically similar to the lowlands and here one finds beef cattle production and the growing of annual crops, mainly maize and beans. In the coffee/banana belt, improved dairy cattle and also the (TSZ) traditional cattle are kept under zero grazing. This system is necessitated by the fact that farm holdings are very small (average 1 hectare) so that there is no spare land forgrazing. This belt is found on the slopes of Mounts Meru, Kilimanjaro and the Pare Mountain Ranges.

  3. The upper belt has very high rainfall, very high altitude and temperatures below 20°C. In this zone, there are national forests at the lower extremes and scant vegetation at higher altitudes. This zone is neither suitable for arable agriculture nor livestock keeping. This zone is mainly on the higher slopes of Mounts Meru and Kilimanjaro and to a lesser extent on the Pare Mountain ranges.

The project area covers a total area of 11, 294 km2, has a total population of 1,178,000 and a cattle population of 500, 327 (of which 399,933 are indigenous and 87,197 are dairy cattle).


Categorisation of the farming systems has equipped the project to understand the farmers and their problems and in planning a strategic implementation programme. The main production systems are:

Category I. The farmer in this category has a small plot surrounding the homestead, mainly growing bananas. Sales of coffee are very low. In most cases, the farmer has no plot in the lowlands and, if any, it is difficult to cultivate. Capital availability is non-existent, due primarily to low coffee sales from his plot in the coffee/banana belt. The other characteristic is the absence of cattle, often coupled with the absence of small ruminants.

Category II. In this category, one sees a comparatively larger plot surrounding the homestead under bananas and coffee but the absence of a plot in the lowlands for annual crops and, if any, difficult to cultivate. Incomes in this category are mainly from the coffee sales while family labour only is available. The cattle found in this case are the local zebu (Tanzania Shorthorn Zebu - TSZ).

Category III. This is characterised by a piece of land around the homestead under bananas/coffee, as well as a piece of land in the lowlands, but difficult to cultivate due to lack of labour, distance and lack of or cost of transport to the lowlands. The source of labour is family labour, which in most cases consists of old people. Cattle are either the local cattle or up-graded dairy animals.

Category IV. This is characterised by a plot surrounding the homestead, also under bananas and coffee, as well as a plot of land in the lowlands. The source of incomes is mainly from the sales of coffee, milk and surplus bananas. The source of labour is the family, coupled with hired labour at certain times. The type of cattle are mainly dairy grade animals. There is no real accumulation of capital in this category.

Category V. This category is more or the less the same as Category IV above in terms of land ownership, source of income and labour, with the differences that there is sometimes accumulation of capital (purchase of land). Family labour is used part-time, including use of hired labour. The cattle are improved dairy cows.

Category VI. This category consists of farmers around or close to urban centres with very small plots. The source of income is from sales of specialised products like milk, chicken, pigs, etc. The source of labour is mainly hired labour, supervised by the family. Cattle, if any, consists of improved dairy cows.


Since the inception of the FAO International Scheme for the Coordination of Dairy Development (ISCDD), missions were sent to a number of member countries who had expressed interest in developing or strengthening their dairy industry. Such a mission visited the Arusha/Kilimanjiro area in 1985 and recommended a dairy development programme based on an integrated approach, paying special attention to smallholders.

The problems of development are both of a technical nature and also constraints on inputs, facilities and services. The latter include feeding, breeding and AI; animal health and veterinary services; the dairy activities of the rural cooperatives - milk collection, processing and marketing; and also the training of both dairy farmers and technical personnel.

The programme was divided into nine sub-projects:

  1. Assistance to small holders in dairy development.
  2. Development of dairy activities in rural cooperatives.
  3. Fodder production on large scale farms.
  4. Expansion of the heifer breeding programme in Arushu/Kilimanjaro area.
  5. Strengthening of the veterinary services.
  6. Assistance to the vaccine production at ADRI in Dar-es-Salaam.
  7. Expansion of the AI services.
  8. Renovation of TDL operated collection/cooling centres and equipment of new centres at cooperative societies.
  9. Support to the rehabilitation of the TDL plant in Arusha.


This is the first of nine sub-projects and is currently being implemented and largely financed by FAO/UNDP; other donors include France, HPT, WFP, EEC, etc. It is a “transition project”, due to the nature of its objectives (general and specific) and also because it lays the ground for the implementation of the other sub-projects. The general objectives of this project include strengthening of extension services, development of dairy activities in the rural cooperatives and thirdly the coordination of dairy development.

The specific objectives, which seek to deal with certain technical roles, include:

  1. to strengthen the extensive services of the regional and district livestock authorities in the project area, including farmers' training,
  2. to investigate and popularise the treatment of roughages with urea to improve its feeding value for smallholder farmers,
  3. to increase the quality and quantity of fodder grown by smallholder farmers,
  4. to increase the quality and range of inputs and services required by the smallholder dairy farmers, which are provided through the rural cooperative societies,
  5. to improve the nutrition of the animals by increasing the quality of molasses/urea mixtures fed,
  6. to procure suitable breeding bulls for use by smallholder farmers in areas where AI services are not readily available,
  7. to investigate the economics of baling roughages (especially maize stover) to reduce transport costs, and
  8. to assist in the coordination of various components of the integrated plan through support to the Dairy Development Coordination Committee.


Strengthening of the extension services

The extension services in Tanzania are centralized under the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock Development. The scale of the project area, with 80,000 dairy farmers having a mixture of improved cows and milking zebu cows, makes it almost impossible to have an effective extension programme, considering the limited number of extension workers, especially when one thinks of individual visits as the sole extension method.

It was therefore advised that group activities, including meetings, seminars, demonstrations, study tours, farm visits and field days, be carried out with farmers. An intensive training programme was initiated for training local extension workers in two specific fields: specific technical messages and communication skills.

Involvement of women

The project has recognised the importance of women in dairy development. They are the ones that are attending the animals while the men are elsewhere. However, attendance by women at seminars has been minimal and this prompted the introduction of specific programmes (seminars) for womens' groups. Even though there has been some positive steps in this direction, more effort to involve women in extension seminars is being encouraged. To date, about 4 % of those attending field days and seminars are women; contact is also made with women's groups in rural areas and also with other groups working with programmes which are in contact with the women in the villages.

Development of dairy activities in the cooperative societies

The rural cooperative societies are multi-purpose, with the main activity being marketing of cash crops, mainly coffee, and provisions of agricultural inputs to farmers. Since the farmers are also the cattle owners, the cooperatives have been encouraged to stock the inputs required by the dairy farmers, which include the concentrate feeds (wheat feed, maize bran, cotton seed cake and other cakes, etc.), molasses/urea mixture (MUM), dairy equipment, veterinary first aid kits and drugs.

The cooperatives have also been advised to form livestock committees to oversee this work, but this has not been effected to any substantial extent. Efforts have also been extended to advise the cooperatives to train their own personnel and, up to 1988, fifty-seven out of seventy MUM centres of the cooperative societies had sent their employees for training at the Livestock Training Institute, Tengeru. The cooperatives paid 50% of the course fees. Efforts are also under way to involve the cooperatives in AI field services for their farmers.

Dairy development coordination

The need for coordination arose from the fact that the project involves a lot of donors, including France, Britain, EEC, WFP, HPT, FAO/UNDP, etc. To coordinate all these donors and the different activities, the project has helped to form a Dairy Development Coordinating Committee which is mainly charged with coordination and monitoring of the implementation of the integrated dairy development plan.

The work of the committee is carried out by a series of technical sub-committees which in turn monitor the activities within their fields of competence. The sub-committees which have been formed under the coordinating committee include:

  1. Extension, Research and Training Sub-Committee
  2. Heifer Production and Distribution Sub-Committee
  3. Fodder Production and Distribution Sub-Committee
  4. Veterinary Services and Breeding Sub-Committee
  5. Women's Activities Sub-Committee
  6. Milk Collection, Processing and Marketing Sub-Committee


Feeding is the main problem in the coffee/banana belt and this has been mainly due to scarcity of land. What the smallholder has tried to do to maintain his dairy animals has included the feeding of banana pseudostems, banana leaves, banana peelings, weeds and roadside grasses.

Except for the green feed which is grown on the edges of the coffee/banana plots, one will note that the rest of the feed resources are limited in terms of nutritive values which, in turn, affects DM intakes.

Efforts by the project have been directed towards increasing the quantity and quality of roughages produced by the smallholder farmers and also the introduction of legumes into the pastures and forage trees like Leucaena spp. Eight legume multiplication plots have been established and vegetative materials have been distributed to farmers.

Efforts to improve the feeding value of maize stover have been directed towards treatment with urea solution. Trials over the last three years have indicated that the method works and the extensionists have advised farmers to apply it by the pit method. Trials are underway to try large-scale treatment of maize stover at cooperative level. This will be undertaken, together with a study of ways of reducing transport costs of maize stover by baling, since maize stover and other roughages are transported from the lowland zone to the coffee/banana belt in loose form.

J.M. Centres has studied the impact of roughage treatment using the pit and basket methods (Table 1). Increasing the quality of maize stover at farm level has not been without problems (see below), despite the fact that practical guidelines were established for roughage treatment in terms of quantity of urea, maize stover, etc. Some positive aspects of roughage treatment have included increased intakes and particularly milk yields, and reduced wastage of the maize stover; 110kg of treated maize stover was enough to feed one cow for two weeks (with other feeds).

Table 1. Comparison of methods of treating maize stover with urea (J.M. Centres, 1989, unpublished data).
% DIGESTIBILITY40.154.037.551.9
CP (%AM)

Feed Evaluation

This has been concerned with collection and evaluation of the feed resources currently used by the farmers. The feeds collected include banana leaves and pseudostems, elephant grass, guatemala grass, roadside hay, weeds from coffee plantations, bean straw, maize stover and even bean trash.

Description of the nutritive value of feeds used in the project area will provide information for adequate feed formulation. Determination of changes in nutritive value as a result urea treatment will provide information on the economics of treatment. Determination of differences in nutritive values of different varieties of maize stover and bean straw will help to advise farmers (and even plant breeders). Determination of optimum length of time for treatment of stover/straw with urea and optimum quantity of urea is being carried out under farm conditions. Lastly, measuring the changes in production of milk following introduction of new technologies would help to evaluate their impact.

The feed evaluation aspect has been done and will continue to be done jointly by the project, the Sokoine University of Agriculture and INRA-France.


J.M. Centres (1988) has analyzed the data on extension. The number of seminars has increased 460% between 1986 and 1988, while the increase between 1987 and 1988 was 170%; 40,354 farmers have been contacted since 1986 through seminars/demonstrations. In 1988, only 18,773 farmers were contacted through 638 seminars/demonstrations. Assuming farmers attend more than one seminar or demonstration, the reports say that only around 15,000 farmers will have been contacted in three years.

This figure is low considering the total number of around 80,000 farmers in the project area. The frequency of the seminars/ demonstrations needs to be increased in the villages and adjusted in relation to the dairy cattle population. Efforts to get more farmers attending these sessions need to be promoted. Emphasis should be put on women involvement. Field staff involvement needs to be reviewed, together with more follow-up of the farmers after demonstrations. Timing of seminars/demonstrations should coincide with topics.

Extension Materials

To aid in the extension programme, a number of extension materials have been prepared, distributed and used both by farmers and extension workers.

Handouts. These have been prepared on 16 different topics including: Desmodium, Siratro, Leucaena, establishment of Desmodium cuttings, ‘Grass equals Milk’, feeding of dairy cattle, feeding of pregnant cows, molasses/urea mixture feeding, roughage treatment, dairy cattle breeding, milk production from zebu cattle, calf rearing, calf housing, housing of dairy cattle, milking hygiene, etc.

Booklets. These have been prepared and distributed. These include calf-rearing (6040 copies), dairy cattle breeding (4670), milking hygiene (1430), diseases of dairy cattle (3920), roughage treatment (1020), feeding of dairy cattle and women in dairy development.

Slides and films have also been prepared on the topics mentioned above.

Between July 1988 and March 1989, a total of 59 seminars and 115 demonstrations were carried out, including 31 with audio-visual support. Around 3800 farmers attended these seminars and demonstrations.

Pasture establishment

The main problem here has been seed availability. The project has been trying to combat this problem by using the limited seed available to establish pasture seed multiplication plots in different locations. It is hoped that, when this is achieved, there will be seed available to farmers. Another problem related to this is the problem of seed-setting with Desmodium. It is not known as yet why this legume is not producing seed. The project has therefore been distributing cuttings to farmers and the results are encouraging.

Roughage treatement

The project has conducted roughage treatment (mainly maize stover) campaigns at farmers' level (small scale), advocating the pit method mainly and the basket method since 1986. Technically, the pit method is a good one in terms of practicability, reduced wastage and increased yields. Problems encountered in 1986/87 have included moulding during treatment, storage of the treated product, lack or limited amount of maize stover, insufficient labour during treatment and transport of the maize stover in sufficient quantities. These problems have been compounded in 1987 by the interference of the Rinderpest Campaign, abnormal rain distribution and drought, and a shortage of the roughage treatment booklets.

J.M. Centres has also looked at the percentage of farmers who have repeated the roughage treatments after the one they did during the demonstration and also through attendance at the opening of the pits. The numbers of farmers using the treatments were 28 and 76 in 1986 and 1987 respectively, and the numbers repeating the treatment in 1987 and 1988 were 12 and 17.

Large scale treatment

This started this year, 1989, but on a very limited scale due to the rains. Baling was done on only 4 farms in the Rombo District due to distances between farms and the bad roads. It is expected that large scale baling and treatment will begin August/September, 1989.

Molasses/urea mixture feeding (MUM)

The idea of using molasses from the Tanganyika Planting Company (TPC), which is a sugar factory in the project area, goes back to 1976. The plans for the scheme, as it is currently being developed, were drawn up in 1980 but implemented only in 1982. At that time it was estimated that initial demand would be in the region of 3,000 tonnes per year with a long term potential of 10,000 tonnes. At that time molasses was plentiful and the project was assured of its short term requirements.

The mixing plant was completed in 1984 and the first sales of MUM were in 1985. Initially there were village tanks served by a tanker lorry. In 1986, plans were drawn up to increase the number of villages tanks from 20 to 70 and commissioning of the new tanks started at the end of 1986, and by 1986/7, 40 were in operation. New tanker lorries were also made available.

The initial price was 700 Tanzanian shillings (Tz) per ton. This was calculated on the basis of Tz 450/- for raw molasses and a further Tz 250/- for the urea and mixing charges. However when the tendering system was introduced at the start of the 1986/87 season, the price of MUM to the project was kept at Tz 750/- to help establish the use of this feed by dairy farmers. In mid-1987, the project was informed that it would have to pay Tz 3,500/- per ton and that the quantity allocated to the project was 3000 tonnes for the 1987/88 season. While the price to farmers had been 2.00 Tz per litre in the past it had to be 8.00 Tz for the same quantity. This had a very serious effect on the sales and use of MUM by the farmers in the project.

Experience to date shows that farmers cannot compete in terms of price with other users of MUM, even if demand was increased. Sales of MUM have therefore decreased due to prices.

The tendering system has therefore priced the MUM out of reach of many of the small scale farmers. Scarcity of other feeds makes MUM an extremely important component of the programme to raise milk yield. The project is still fighting for a price policy to be based on either the price of milk, the price of other livestock feeds (e.g. cottonseed cake, maize bran, etc.), TPC's costs of production or national inflation.


Commercial milk marketing

In the project area is a milk processing plant situated in Arushu town, the Tanzania Dairies Ltd (TDL), which is one of seven in Tanzania. This plant collects milk from both large scale farms and smallholder farmers. It operates over 9 collection and cooling centres in the project area; the distance between TDL and the cooling centres varies from 30 to 100 kilometres.

The plant is faced with a problem that not all the cooling centres are in working order and therefore the plant does not work to capacity, as it cannot collect all the milk available and hence depends a lot on reconstituting and marketing reconstituted milk. The constraints that the plant is experiencing renders it ineffective in organising collection, processing and marketing of milk. The result has been vending of milk by middlemen and the establishment of dairy cooperatives in rural areas.

There are in the project are 3 dairy cooperatives in Kilimanjaro area where 2 are transporting and selling milk to Moshi town, while one is processing milk into cheese and markets it in Arusha and Moshi townships. These dairy cooperatives and other smallholders have found it a good business to sell the milk on their own, rather than to sell to TDL, because the price paid by the latter is lower than that which could be obtained by selling direct to consumers in town or their neighbours.

Commercialisation of milk has been growing over the years due to an increasing consumption pattern. This has resulted in smallholders investing in concentrate feeds, minerals, vitamins and drugs. This is due to high prices paid for milk and dairy animals, and the fact that farmers have realised for a long time that milk is nutritious and also an economic use of scarce land.


The feeding of dairy cattle for milk production in the Arushu/ Kilimanjaro area is the biggest problem, due to scarcity of land which necessitates zero-grazing and the use of diverse feeds from various sources. This requires, among other things, an efficient system to increase the quantity and quality of agricultural by-products and, most of all, an efficient extension programme. Involving the rural cooperatives in dairy activities will help farmers in obtaining the necessary dairy inputs locally. There is considerable potential for increasing milk production from the dairy and local cattle population, as the demand for milk is still far from being satisfied.

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